Rabi-II Book Club Recap
Bismillahi ar-rahmani ar-rahim...
Assalamu aleikum waramatulahi wabarakatuhu Dear Readers.
Thank you for tuning to this month's edition. Reviews and thoughts of the club below. Please read on. Shukran!
Summary: ...It’s easier to solve a crime than solve yourself
Baghdad, 295 Hijri (908 CE)
When a young man is found dead, killed in the exact manner as a martyr slain on the fields of Karbala some two hundred years before, there is no mistaking it as anything other than an attack on the Shia community of Baghdad. The city is on edge as religious and political factions are exposed sending the caliph’s army into the streets. Investigators, Ammar and Tein, have to clear the case, one way or another, before violence erupts. But amateur sleuth, Zaytuna, has had a visionary dream of the murder that holds the key to solving the murder. Can she can read its signs? And will Tein and Ammar listen?
Review: Another intriguing installment with a unique narrative style. Loved the new beginnings of the recurring characters.
Summary: Dreamcatcher Framework is a short precise book to help you achieve your dreams. A step by step guide to show dreams are achievable. It let you to explore your ideas and dreams and helps to set goals and accountability, kick off all the excuses of not having enough time to work towards your goals.
Review: Inspiring and definitely motivating. Favorite quote: "Fear no Failure."
A Bouquet of Muslim Blossoms
Summary: A collection of 22 Muslim writers from around the world and is full of flash fiction, short stories, novel excerpts and a few personalized poems. The pieces are offered as refreshment and resistance to you and we hope will provide you with renewed and abundant gratefulness, certitude, happiness, faith and courage.
Thoughts: This anthology is a various account of Muslim artists in this age. From depression to winning stories, the emotions the different authors try to relay come through with force.
One of the interesting quotes in this anthology says: "...change the story and make a hit." This was definitely a bittersweet account.
Yusuf Azeem is Not a Hero
Summary: Yusuf Azeem has spent all his life in the small town of Frey, Texas—and nearly that long waiting for the chance to participate in the regional robotics competition, which he just knows he can win.
Only, this year is going to be more difficult than he thought. Because this year is the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an anniversary that has everyone in his Muslim community on edge.
With “Never Forget” banners everywhere and a hostile group of townspeople protesting the new mosque, Yusuf realizes that the country’s anger from two decades ago hasn’t gone away. Can he hold onto his joy—and his friendships—in the face of heartache and prejudice?
Thoughts: While reading the story, we kept thinking of the plight of the young genius Ahmed Mohammed with his clock project in our backyard; TEXAS. It turned out this true story inspired the author here. Overall, the book can definitely help tackle the difficult questions that still hang in the air with non-Muslims.
Mystical Adventure of Ashley Sprinkler
Summary: ...Ashley Sprinkler endures different creatures in four different realms unlike earth. The adventure has led Ashley to discover the powerfulness of the artefacts that has been left by her late father. The puzzling and magical nature of the magical portal that transported her to different realms. Her magic artefacts assisted her in the battle against the evil greedy witches. Do you think she will win?...
Thoughts: The worldbuilding is creative in this good and evil theme debut magical story. Encouragements to the author to continue writing and honing her craft.
Nuturing the Nafs & Dear Struggling Soul
- In ... (Nuturing the Nafs) of personal reflections and quotes, internationally acclaimed author and soul-care mentor, Umm Zakiyyah, offers a glimpse into her journey as a female soul striving for healing and self-honesty.
She says, “I pray it inspires you to you embrace what it means to be honest with yourself during your brief sojourn on earth, such that your hurting heart is healed, your restless nafs is calmed, and your struggling soul is nourished.”
- Dear Struggling Soul is a collection of reflections from the life and heart of Umm Zakiyyah, internationally acclaimed author and soul-care mentor. Its purpose is to inspire in the believing heart spiritual self-compassion, as our sojourn in this world can be so confusing and painful at times. Yet the beauty and blessings of this divine gift of life remain.
Thoughts: Both journals offer great wisdoms of pearls. With ease there is always difficulty, and she hints to that all-around. Eeman, gratitude, and tawakkul among many options are your best bet in any situation you face. And if you have been tested, you know that's true. Often times, if we read large and far, we will realize that our struggles are not unique and that most certainly someone else has faced such a trial. If you can get tips from such a predecessor, it makes things a bit easier. And these reflective journals achieve that for the reader in need of the advice.
Stories of 20 Mighty Muslim Heroes
Summary: Do you know the story of the female founder of the oldest running university? You know Newton and Einstein but have you heard of Ibn Sina and Lubna of Cordoba? Did you hear of the female navy commander who defeated the Dutch army...twice! You will be surprised to know they were all Muslim!
These are just some examples of thousands of courageous Muslim women and men throughout history whose beliefs and accomplishments helped change the world for future generations. They are trailblazers who opened the doors to education, made remarkable discoveries, fought for women’s rights, led powerful armies, and believed in their dreams.
Stories of 20 Mighty Muslim Heroes aims to:
• give children diverse role models
• increase Muslim representation in children’s books
• change misconceptions one hero at a time.
Stories of 20 Mighty Muslim Heroes hopes to inspire and empower children with these legendary multicultural biographies.
Thoughts: Usually, you have to read many biographies to get a grasp of many past inspiring Muslim figures' lives. However, with this compilation, we have a short and concise summary of their major achievements and contributions to the ummah and the world.
Summary: Show Yourself by Adeeba Jafri is made up of two groundbreaking pieces of YA fiction that draw inspiration from real life to promote mental health awareness in teenage readers. In Show Yourself, the story of a missing phone runs parallel to a story about friendship, hurt and the importance of talking about how you feel.
In A Wound Like No Other, Jafri further explores themes of love, isolation and the complexities that exist within a conservative Muslim community...
Thoughts: The topics mentioned in this debut story are timely and needed discussion topics. While the story is written with young readers in mind, the story can be expanded further with greater detail to also entice more seasoned readers.
Summary: ...Breathe - Reflections and Poetry from the 2020 Lockdown is a book that highlights the emotional journey of a mother surviving a pandemic lockdown with her family. From gratitude to fears, hope to stress, faith to worry. From appreciating brave souls who cared for sick ones to lonely ones who spent months distanced from the world. At a time when every breath counts more than ever, we are reminded of the blessing and healing that comes when we choose to breathe.
Thoughts: We found the pieces overwhelmingly relatable. The poems are raw. The penning artistic. Overall, the collection is soulful and beautiful.
Summary: Is your head spinning trying to figure out what all of the different investment choices are, let alone if they’re halal? This book has got you covered. The author not only demystifies the plethora of options available to you, but points out which ones are Islamically permissible and which are not, along with the reasons why.
If you want to learn not only how to invest, but how to do it the halal way without compromising your values, grab a copy and get reading. In just over 100 pages, you’ll be armed with the tools to invest your first dollar. And if you already have a vast portfolio of investments, this book will provide guidance on Shariah-compliance.
Topics covered: stocks, exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, real estate, venture capital, cryptocurrency, and more!
Thoughts: While the book is a quick and concise guide on Islamic Investing, we believe halal is relative and subjective these days. That said and like the author mentioned, take his tips with a grain of salt but also keep in mind the experience he has. Our tip: Check out the book and don't fill your belly with fire while trying to become financially secure.
Accidental Rich Boy
Summary: Growing up in a London tower block is not easy, especially for fifteen-year-old Nadim who just seems to keep getting hit by one problem after another. Keeping on top of school work and dodging the ‘street boys’ is hard enough, but Nadim also has to find ways to support his struggling family.
He finally seems to have a stroke of good luck when he lands in an unexpected situation that promises to turn his fortunes around—but at a price. Should Nadim do the right thing and let his family suffer, or give in to temptation and risk serious, life-changing consequences?
Thoughts: This story gives good coping mechanisms to teenagers in order to help them deal with depression. Moreover, the story is for a conservative Muslim audience. We found some plot elements a bit too coincidental or too safe even though the story is set in a crime-ripe neighborhood. Having said that, at the end of the day, the protagonist engages in a crime. No-one is perfect. Overall, the writer can write; especially in first POV. This is not an easy feat.
Summary: As we all do, Lala goes through life with her family learning and trying her best to get closer to Allah. What is different about her is that she gets into some quite peculiar, but hilarious situations! She uses these to grow and learn more about how she should have acted according to the advice of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
LALA is a comic book with a compilation of over stories, each of which teaches and reminds the reader of simple Islamic teachings (alongside a good cheeky laugh). Join Lala and read along to find out what could possibly happen when someone misunderstands a hadeeth or Quranic verse!
Thoughts: The comic is hilarious. At times, it comes off a bit preachy but overall it incites joy in the reader. Funny and well designed.
That's it for this edition! Alhamdullilah.
Thank you for tuning in and reading. Dear Readers & Members, see you in Jumada-I 1443 AH insha'Allah.
Our Usual Book Club Questions Are:
1. What did you like most?
2. What gave you pause?
3. What didn't you like?
4. What are your other thoughts?
5. What question (s) do you have for the author(s)?
6. What questions about the book(s) do you have for the moderator or other members of the discussion(s)?
We look forward to hearing from you.
G E T I N T O U C H !
Books, Teas & Coffees
Until next time, subhanaka Allahumma wa-bihamdika ash-hadu anla ilaha illa anta as-taghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka. (O Allah, You are free from every imperfection; praise be to You. I testify that there is no true god except You; I ask Your Pardon and turn to You in repentance.) Aameen.
The Fofky's Book Club